Mariem communities reject relocation of Payams’ headquarters

Mariem communities reject relocation of Payams’ headquarters
Communities in Northern Bahr el Ghazal State protest against the decision to relocate two Mariem payams to Nyamlel (photo credit: Supplied)

The communities of Mariem West and Mariem East Payams in Northern Bahr el Ghazal State have strongly rejected the government’s decision to relocate its headquarters to Nyamlel Payam.

In a letter extended to The City Review on Thursday, after their meeting in Mariem Payam, the communities said the decision of relocating two payams was not accepted.

In their response, the community rejected the First Vice President Dr Riek Machar’s directives to the governor Tong Akeen Ngor to relocate the administration of the two payams to Nyamlel Aweil West County.

“Your excellency, the First Vice President, the communities of [the] two Payams would kindly like to bring into your attention that, two Mariem [communities] had rejected and continue to reject leaving behind their land to be part of other people’s land,” the letter partially read.

“Yes, it was rightful when we were in war as Aweil town was occupied by Arabs, [but] was supposed to be our headquarter if it were liberated that every time,” they further noted in the statement.

They stressed that if the appointment of their sons to Aweil West counties ‘‘obligated them to go to Aweil West Headquarters with their chiefs, administrators, and police, it was better to relieve whoever was appointed and chose other people’’.

They said in 2006, the communities around Aweil reacted and raised the same complaint but the issue was not resolved.

According to the letter, the headquarter of PalieuPiny County was in Palieupiny East (Aweil town) and the three communities are the hosts of the town.

The resources including the trading centre are closer to the communities; less than 1 kilometre.

Their constituencies are under National Constituency No 7, Aweil Town Constituency No 20, Aweil Urban Constituency No 21, and Rural Constituency No 22.

“In the light of above, our rejection has nothing to do with the political parties but the facts were mentioned above.”

However, the state Minister of Cabinet Affairs Sebastino Uchan Kic promised to present the community concerns to Machar.

 “The voice of the community is very important because it is the power and their right which needs to be listened to. So, if these two communities demand their rights as a state government, we will take their issues ahead,” Kic stressed.

“We are going to take the issue ahead because our constitution states that the land belongs to the communities, therefore, your position will be taken ahead,” he promised.

Uchan urged communities to remain calm as they wait for the results, warning them against taking the law in their hand by causing chaos.

On October 31, 2021, Machar wrote to Governor Tong Aken Ngor, of Northern Bahr el-Ghazal State, directing him to relocate all the administration of the two payams to Nyamlel.

The letter was titled “clarification on the border dispute between Aweil West County and Aweil town municipality.”

“In the light of the above facts, directed the all administrations, administrators, police inspectors and Chiefs of Payam of Auet and Chimel to report to Nyamlel as payams fall within Aweil West County,” the order stated.